About the Canadian Polar Commission
Established in 1991, the Canadian Polar Commission has responsibility for: monitoring, promoting, and disseminating knowledge of the polar regions; contributing to public awareness of the importance of polar science to Canada; enhancing Canada's international profile as a circumpolar nation; and recommending polar science policy direction to government.
In carrying out its mandate, the Commission hosts conferences and workshops, publishes information on subjects of relevance to polar research, and works closely with other governmental and non-governmental agencies to promote and support Canadian study of the polar regions.
- Bernard Funston (Chairperson)
- Nellie Cournoyea (Vice-Chairperson)
- Barrie Ford
- Dr. Martin Fortier
- Robert Gannicott
- Dr. David Hik
- Dr. Rob Huebert
- Maxim Jean-Louis
- Dr. John Nightingale
- Darielle Talarico
- Dr. David J. Scott (Executive Director)
- Jean-Marie Beaulieu (Senior Science Advisor)
- John Bennett (Manager, Communication & Information)
- Sandy Bianchini (Administrative Assistant)
- Susan File (Research Analyst)
- Julie Fortin (Finance Officer)
- David Miller (Northern Coordinator)
- Jocelyn Joe-Strack (Research Associate)
- Marc Meloche (Senior Policy Analyst)
Bernard Funston was appointed Chairperson of the Canadian Polar Commission's Board of Directors in November 2010. Mr. Funston's education in history (BA, Trent), circumpolar affairs (MLitt., Cambridge) and constitutional law (LLB, Alberta) has led to involvement in Aboriginal land claims, territorial political and economic development, and circumpolar affairs.
Involved with the Arctic Council since its conception, Mr. Funston served as Executive Secretary to its Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG). Mr. Funston's knowledge in legal, policy, and science matters regarding the Arctic have been further enhanced by his experience as an advisor to Canada's Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs and his involvement with the Arctic Council and other circumpolar organizations for the past 15 years. His work as a consultant has included clients such as Grid Arendal - a collaborating centre of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Mr. Funston holds membership in the Law Society of the Northwest Territories and the Law Society of Alberta. He is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society of Canada and the President of Northern Canada Consulting, a small consulting company specializing in the Canadian North and the northern circumpolar region.
Although he is currently based in Ottawa, Mr. Funston was born and raised in the Northwest Territories where he has worked extensively. Mr. Funston is a luthier, crafting guitars inspired by his life as a Northerner.
Nellie Cournoyea was appointed Vice Chairperson of the Canadian Polar Commission's Board of Directors in November 2010. A strong advocate for Northern issues and former Premier of the Northwest Territories (1991-1995), Ms. Cournoyea is currently serving as the Chair and Chief Executive Office of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation.
Born in Aklavik, Northwest Territories, Ms. Cournoyea served as a broadcaster for nine years with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Ms. Cournoyea is well known for her promotion of social and economic development in the Northwest Territories and her extensive work on land claims. She worked as a land claim fieldworker for the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and her work negotiating land claim over an eight-year period led to the 1984 Inuvialuit Final Agreement. She is a founding member of the Committee of Original Peoples' Entitlement and has served on the boards of both the Inuvialuit Petroleum Corporation and Inuvialuit Development Corporation. Ms. Cournoyea was the first managing director of the Inuvialuit Development Corporation after being part of the land rights negotiating team. She also held the position of implementation coordinator for the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA) for several years and served on the Board of Directors of Inuvialuit Petroleum Corporation, Inuvialuit Development Corporation, the Enrollment Authority and Arbitration Board.
Ms. Cournoyea received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for public service in 1994. She is the recipient of five honourary doctorates in law from Lakehead University (1995), Carleton University (1996), University of Toronto (1996), University of Lethbridge (2001) and University of Alberta (2004).
In 2008 the Governor General of Canada awarded Nellie Cournoyea the Northern Medal in recognition for her significant contributions to the evolution and reaffirmation of the Canadian North as part of our national identity.
Ms. Cournoyea has served in a volunteer capacity as Director of the Ingamo Hall Friendship Centre in Inuvik and is a founding member of the Northern Games Society. She also volunteers in Inuvialuit historical and cultural activities.
Barrie Ford was appointed to the Canadian Polar Commission's Board of Directors in November 2010. A lifelong resident of Kuujjuaq, Quebec, Mr. Ford's skills in planning and running research field camps began when he was measuring fish, preparing samples and assisting with environmental clean ups as a student in high school.
After completing a diploma in Natural Science (John Abbott College) and a Bachelor of Science (McGill University), Mr. Ford returned to the Nunavik Research Centre in Kuujjuaq to continue his work tagging polar bears and monitoring Arctic char, this time as a wildlife biologist.
As the lead International Polar Year (IPY) co-ordinator for Nunavik, Mr. Ford helped facilitate the Government of Canada's IPY programs by providing guidance and practical support to research teams.
In an effort to engage people in the science of the North, Ford also arranged public exhibits to tour local Nunavik communities.
Mr. Ford serves on the Polar Bear Technical Committee, the National Inuit Climate Change Committee and the Kuujjuaq Education Committee.
Dr. Martin Fortier was appointed to the Canadian Polar Commission's Board of Directors in November 2010. He is the Executive Director of ArcticNet and also serves on several scientific boards including as the Chair of the Polar Continental Shelf Program's Advisory Board.
A specialist in pelagic carbon fluxes in seasonally ice-covered seas, Dr. Fortier completed his Ph. D. in Biological Oceanography at Université Laval in 1999.
From 1999 to 2003, he was the scientific coordinator of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) funded International North Water Polynya Study (NOW, 1997-2001) and Canadian Arctic Shelf Exchange Study (CASES, 2002-2007) Research Networks, involving more than 120 leading experts in Arctic science from 10 Canadian universities, four federal departments, and nine foreign countries. In 2002, Dr. Fortier was heavily involved in the implementation of the refit and modification of the CCGS Amundsen into a state of the art research icebreaker. Dr. Fortier has since served as Chief Scientist on seven expeditions onboard the Amundsen, including its inaugural voyage in 2003.
Dr. Fortier was appointed as Executive Director of the ArcticNet Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) in the fall of 2003. As one of the world's largest national Arctic research networks, ArcticNet brings together scientists and managers in the natural, human health and social sciences with their partners in Inuit organizations, northern communities, government and industry to help Canadians face the impacts and opportunities of climate change and globalization in the Arctic.
Dr. Fortier is also an avid photographer whose photographs depicting Arctic research activities and scenery have been featured in national and international magazines and other publications.
Dr. Fortier is one of the recipients of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society 2010 Gold Medal for contributions to the Canadian IPY program.
Robert Gannicott was appointed to the Canadian Polar Commission's Board of Directors in November 2010. Mr. Gannicott is a leading geologist who has over 35 years of mining industry experience. Robert Gannicott immigrated to Canada in 1967 from England and entered the mining industry in Yellowknife. He began his career focused on mining projects in the Northwest Territories and Scandinavia. Mr. Gannicott became involved with diamond exploration in Canada's North in 1991.
Mr. Gannicott joined the Harry Winston Diamond Corporation as a Director in 1992 and is now serving as the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. He was appointed President and CEO in September 1999, and then Chairman and CEO in July 2004.
In 2004, Mr. Gannicott chaired the Ontario Securities Commission committee to develop Guidelines for the Reporting of Diamond Exploration Results, which has since been adopted by the Commission and the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy as best practices. The following year he was awarded The Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Award in recognition of his pivotal role in the Diavik Project, now recognized as a world-class mining asset. In 2007, Mr. Gannicott was awarded the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Members Award to recognize his leadership in promoting diamond exploration and the mining industry in Canada and Greenland in addition to his volunteer contributions to the Institute.
Dr. David Hik was appointed to the Canadian Polar Commission's Board of Directors in November 2010. Dr. Hik has conducted research in Northern Canada since 1984. His focus is on tundra ecosystems, particularly the affects of climate change on interactions between plants and animals. He holds a BSc (Hons) from Queen's University, an MSc from the University of Toronto, and a PhD from the University of British Columbia. Dr. Hik is currently a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Northern Ecology at the University of Alberta.
Dr. Hik has worked in a variety of research and leadership capacities. He served as the Executive Director for the Canadian International Polar Year (IPY) Secretariat from 2004-2009. He coordinated the Canadian IPY program and acted as a liaison between Canada and the International Program Office in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Dr. Hik was elected President of the International Arctic Science Committee in 2010.
Dr. Hik has also served on many panels and committees, including the editorial board of the journal Arctic, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Northern Research Chairs Program, the Council of the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies, the University of the Arctic Graduate Program, and the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning in the NWT. He is also a member of the Board of the Arctic Institute of North America and co-chairs the Arctic Council's initiative on Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks.
In 1994, Dr. Hik held an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Canberra, Australia. In 2002, Dr. Hik was recognized by Environment Canada for his commitment to advancing the goals of the Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network in Canada. Dr. Hik recently received the Canadian Royal Geographic Society's Gold Medal Award in Geography for his contributions to the Canadian IPY program.
Dr. Robert Huebert was appointed to the Canadian Polar Commission's Board of Directors in November 2010. Dr. Huebert is currently an Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary. He holds a BA Hons. from the University of Manitoba, an MA from Carleton University, and a PhD from Dalhousie University.
Dr. Huebert's current research includes Canadian Arctic security and sovereignty, environmental security, and Canadian defence policy. He has also researched ocean politics, strategic studies, international relations and circumpolar relations. Dr. Huebert was awarded a 2008-2009 Senior Research Fellowship at the Canadian International Council. He had a Resident Fellowship in 2008 at the United States Institute at the University of Calgary. He is a fellow of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute. He was the 1999-2000 recipient of the Faculty of Social Sciences Distinguished Teacher Award at the University of Calgary.
His articles have been published in The International Journal; Canadian Foreign Policy; Marine Policy; and Issues in the North. He was also a co-author of the Report To Secure a Nation: Canadian Defence and Security into the 21st Century and co-editor of Commercial Satellite Imagery and United Nations Peacekeeping and Breaking Ice: Canadian Integrated Ocean Management in the Canadian North. He also comments on Canadian security and Arctic issues in both the Canadian and international media.
Maxim Jean-Louis was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Polar Commission effective November 2010.
Maxim Jean-Louis is an executive specializing in technology and education, distance education and alternative delivery with a special focus on small, remote and northern communities.
He has extensive experience working with diverse community groups and secondary and post-secondary institutions, including geographically disadvantaged students, Francophones, Aboriginals, visible minority groups, education networks and consortia, universities and colleges, governments, the corporate sector and funding agencies.
A sociology and education graduate, Maxim Jean-Louis worked in administration for 14 years in student services, regional services, marketing and communications at Athabasca University, Canada's leader in online and distance education.
For the past 14 years, Maxim Jean-Louis has been the President - Chief Executive Officer of Contact North, the world's largest distance education and training network, headquartered in Sudbury and Thunder Bay, with 112 access centres in small, remote and rural areas and Aboriginal communities across Ontario.
Maxim Jean-Louis has undertaken international consultancies for leading British and Canadian development organizations in different jurisdictions such as Guyana, the Caribbean, South Africa, Botswana, and Dubai.
He is very active at the community level. He is the current Chair of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION), Ontario's ultra high-speed fibre optic network, a member of the board of Computers for Schools (Ontario), a member of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada-Francophone Minority Communities Steering Committee, the Joint Commission of the Consortium national de formation en santé et de Société en français, and the Association of Montfort Hospital. He is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of World University Service of Canada.
Dr. John Nightingale was appointed to the Canadian Polar Commission's Board of Directors in November 2010. A professional biologist (marine biology), Dr. Nightingale is the President and CEO of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, where he has worked for the past 17 years. He has a BA in Biology from Eastern Oregon State College, an M.S. in Fisheries Biology from the University of Washington and a PhD in Physiology from the University of Washington.
Dr. Nightingale's current areas of focus include, new forms of public communications and engagement, Canada's Arctic, and sustainable aquaculture. For the past 25 years he has taken a leadership role promoting awareness of biology and conservation through innovative public education programs. This passion for engaging the public has led to the implementation of new communications technologies and other programs at the Vancouver Aquarium in order to expand their outreach.
Dr. Nightingale serves as a director on several boards including the World Ocean Network, of which he is a founding Board Director; the Vancouver Board of Trade, where he is Chair of its Sustainability Committee; and the Canadian Zoo and Aquarium Association, where he served as President from 2007-2009. Dr. Nightingale was a member of the Minister's Advisory Council on Oceans at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (1999-2005). From 1993-1996 he was a member of the BC Marine Protected Area Steering Committee and worked to achieve their goal of establishing Canada's first marine protected area.
Darielle Talarico was appointed to the Canadian Polar Commission's Board of Directors in November 2010. In 1984, she moved to the Yukon to pursue a degree in Zoology, followed by research in the Western Arctic, for her Master of Science degree from Simon Fraser University.
A strategic planner, Ms. Talarico has consulted on research, analysis, consultation and communications projects in the Yukon and Northwest Territories. She has been a consultant to the Yukon Energy Corporation, Council of Yukon First Nations, Yukon Mine Training Association, the Tourism Industry Association of Yukon and the Government of Yukon's Department of the Environment. She has also taught courses at Aurora College in Inuvik and at Yukon College in Whitehorse.
Ms. Talarico is a member of the Arctic Institute of North America (University of Calgary). She is presently a board member of the Yukon Chamber of Commerce and the Great Northern Ski Society. In 2005-2006 she was Vice-President of the Tourism Industry Association of Yukon and has served on several other Yukon-based boards including the Yukon Arts Centre and Wilderness Tourism Association Board.
Ms. Talarico runs a strategic planning consulting business based in Whitehorse, Yukon.
Dr. David J. Scott joined the Canadian Polar Commission in March 2012, as Executive Director.
Dr. Scott has had a long career with the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), most recently serving as Director, Northern Canada Division. Prior to that, he was acting Director General, Planning and Operations Branch, and led the GSC's Gas Hydrates and Northern Resources Development programs. From 1999-2003, he was based in Iqaluit, Nunavut, as the founding Chief Geologist of the Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office.
Dr. Scott holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology (McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada) and a PhD in Geological Sciences (Queen's University, Kingston, Canada) where his thesis research investigated the tectonic origin of two-billion year old oceanic crust in Arctic Quebec. He was a Research Associate in uranium-lead geochronology at the GEOTOP laboratories of the University of Quebec at Montreal. He has published and presented over 80 technical papers.
Jean-Marie Beaulieu holds graduate degrees in Northern Studies from McGill University and in Environmental Studies from York University. As a geographer and ecologist, his research drew on his extensive northern experience, focusing on the role of Inuit knowledge in northern wildlife management.
His broad research interests are well suited to his current responsibilities, which include monitoring polar research and knowledge and providing assistance for the networking of Canadian polar researchers and institutions.
Mr. Beaulieu is one of the recipients of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society 2010 Gold Medal for contributions to the Canadian IPY program.
John Bennett holds a B.A. in Geography (Hons) from the University of Western Ontario and an M.A. in Canadian Studies from Carleton University, where he specialized in northern studies.
He spent nine years working for the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (now Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami), five as editor of Inuktitut Magazine (1989-1993).
He worked as an independent researcher, writer, and editor specializing in the North from 1994 until 2001, when he was invited to join the staff of the Canadian Polar Commission.
Susan holds a Master of Public Administration from Queen's University and an Honours Bachelor of Commerce in Human Resource Management from the University of Ottawa. She has worked in various federal government departments and not-for-profit organizations. Most recently, she was a Policy Analyst with the Arctic Science Policy Integration Directorate at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
Julie Fortin holds degrees in Biotechnology and Accounting. She joined the Canadian Polar Commission in June 2012 as a Financial Officer. Julie has recently worked for the Arctic Science and Policy Integration Directorate at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada as an Administrative Officer. She also worked for various Federal and Provincial Departments in administration and Finance. Previously, she worked as a research assistant at McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre in Montreal.
Jocelyn Joe-Strack is currently a M.Sc. Candidate at the University of Northern British Columbia with a concentration on Arctic mercury and aquatic microbe interactions. She holds a B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Microbiology from the University of Victoria where her work involved forest mycology and stem cells in breast cancer malignancy. She was one of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation's inaugural Jane Glassco Arctic Fellows where she worked on recommendations for a Yukon Water Strategy. Previously, she was the Hydrology Technologist for the Government of Yukon. Jocelyn is from Whitehorse, Yukon and is a member of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation.
Marc Meloche holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences, Concentration in Political Science and Public Policy Management from the University of Ottawa.
Marc has over 30 years experience in the federal public service. He has worked in such departments and agencies as Natural Resources Canada (formally Energy, Mine and Resources), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Federal Climate Change Secretariat and Public Works and Government Services Canada. Through an Interchange Canada Agreement, he was also Director of Strategic Planning and International Affairs at the CCAF-FCVI Inc. (formerly known as Canadian Comprehensive Auditing Foundation). Most recently, he was the Senior Policy Advisor to the Assistant Deputy Minister of Northern Affairs at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (formerly known as Indian and Northern Affairs Canada) and Senior Policy Analyst at the Department's Arctic Science Policy Integration Directorate.
David Miller opened the Commission's office in Yellowknife in November 2012. He is responsible for the Commission's northern outreach and for coordinating its northern-based activities. He also provides secretariat services to the Canadian Network of Northern Research Operators.
Mr. Miller joined the commission following a distinguished 25-year career at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He holds 26 national and international awards for his radio documentary work throughout Canada's North. They include a lifetime journalism achievement award from the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, the Heritage Canada Journalism Medal, two Canadian Science Writers' Awards, and two Adrienne Clarkson Diversity Awards for culturally inclusive broadcasting. He is a former Southam Journalism Fellow (Massey College, University of Toronto).
Mr. Miller is a 32 year resident of the Northwest Territories.
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